Happy Tuesday, guys. I'd like to talk about a subject that might make some of you feel a little, well, uneasy.
Your prostate gland. And whether or not yours is as healthy as it should be.
It used to be that prostate problems were primarily something only elderly men had to worry about, but no longer. Unfortunately, increasing numbers of men are experiencing prostate challenges at younger and younger ages.
Let’s take a closer look at your prostate (that’s just an expression by the way--I promise no one’s going to show up at your door wearing a latex glove), explore what can go wrong with it, and look at ways to help keep your prostate healthy!
Your prolific prostate
Your prostate is a walnut sized gland that sits right below your bladder.
Its primary function is reproductive--that is, it makes the fluid that becomes part of a man's semen. But because it's so close to your bladder and urethra (urine tube) it can affect urination too.
The prostate is also where that the male sex hormone testosterone is transformed into a biologically active form called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
It's hard for a doctor to physically examine the prostate because it's kind of hidden...so that's why checking it usually involves a digital rectal exam. The exam is usually quick but as I’m told it’s the most uncomfortable 20 seconds of a man’s life.
The main problems that can arise with the prostate are:
- Enlargement of the prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH)
- Prostate infection (prostatitis)
- Prostate cancer
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) results when testosterone in a man’s body converts to a highly active form and stimulates prostate cells to grow larger.
While the key word here is “benign” meaning that BPH is not cancerous and in most cases not dangerous, it can be a nuisance because as the prostate gets bigger, it pushes on the urethra and can result in an increased frequency of urination and/or waking up at night having to go.
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland that can cause a wide variety of symptoms including:
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating
- Difficulty urinating
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Sense of urgency to urinate
- Pain in the abdomen, groin or lower back
- Pain or discomfort in the penis or testicles
- Pain during orgasm
- Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, nausea, vomiting)
Although a small percentage of prostatitis cases (about 5 percent or less) are due to bacterial infection and can be treated with antibiotics, the cause of the vast majority of cases is unknown.
And last but not least, there’s prostate cancer. Although any form of cancer is scary, prostate cancer typically grows very slowly, so most men that develop it won’t die from it.
Here are some of the risk factors of prostate cancer:
- Age: By the time a man is 50, he has a 30 percent chance of developing prostate cancer
- Ethnicity: Men of African descent have the highest rate of prostate cancer
- Family history: Men with a family history of prostate cancer have a risk that’s two to three times greater than other men
- Diet: A diet very high in unhealthy fats doubles the risk
- Smoking: Smoking depletes antioxidants in the body which help with cancer protection. In addition, cigarette smoke is high in cadmium, which interferes with zinc’s role in prostate health.
Hello down there!
If you’re even mildly curious about how your prostate is doing, here is a quiz you can take to see if there may be something awry down there.
Answer each of the questions below using the following rating system:
0 = Never
1 = Mild; rarely
2 = Moderate; occasionally
3 = Severe; frequently
How often and how severely do you experience the following symptoms?
- Difficulty urinating
- A sense of bladder fullness
- Straining while urinating
- Decreased amounts of urine passed
- Waking up during the night to urinate
- Dripping/dribbling after urination
- Pain or fatigue in the legs
- Pain or fatigue in the back
- Lowered sex drive
Your total score: ________________
1—2: Prostate problems are unlikely
3—5: Prostate problems are possible
6 or more: Prostate problems are likely
If you suspect that something may be going on with your prostate, by all means see a doctor.
Depending on what may be going on, tests you receive may include a digital rectal exam, ultrasound, urine test, or a PSA test.
But it’s important to DO YOUR PART here too!
And that means doing all you can to help enhance the health of your prostate if you do have problems, or to help keep yours healthy for years and years to come!
Here are some helpful measures to consider:
1) Have a healthy diet
The rate of prostate cancer is higher among men who eat a typical Western-type diet—meaning lots of unhealthy fats and refined carbs, and very little fiber.
Foods like these also lack antioxidants and nutrients that are essential for strong prostate health.
Plus an unhealthy diet also creates acid wastes which breed inflammation—and can contribute to or worsen prostatitis.
So it’s essential for the health of your prostate (and the rest of you too!) to have a diet of wholesome real foods that are rich in fiber and nutrients, and limit your intake of unhealthy fats and refined carbs.
2) Get enough Omega-3 essential fatty acids
Omega-3 fats are Nature’s anti-inflammatory, and a deficiency in them is a leading cause of all kinds of inflammatory issues (including prostate problems). Unfortunately, the average person is low in these crucial fatty acids.
A large reason for this is the typical modern diet which is heavy on refined grains, vegetable oils and meats from corn-fed animals—all of which are loaded with inflammatory Omega-6 EFAs but are severely lacking anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats.
So to help support prostate health (and keep inflammation low throughout your body) it's wise to replenish your Omega-3 supply with a top-quality fish oil supplement.
VitalMega-3 is a pure fish oil formula that delivers 1,000 mg of the EPA and DHA essential fatty acids you so desperately need in every daily 2-capsule serving.
Studies continue to support fish oil’s effectiveness, even with prostate issues! One study involving 2,268 men aged 67–96 years old found that men consuming fish oil in later life had a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer.
3) Additional nutrients to consider
There are certain other nutrients that have been shown to help enhance prostate health:
Zinc is far and away the star. It's been shown to help reduce prostate swelling and symptoms.
Vitamin B6 is a good "partner" to zinc because it helps aid zinc absorption in your body.
And Magnesium can help encourage muscle relaxation—which can be helpful with BPH and prostatitis
And all of these are in our outstanding Super Core multi-vitamin and mineral formula!
Plus Super Core provides the additional benefit of natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, which further support prostate (and overall) health.
Do all you can to help keep your prostate healthy well into your golden years!
To your health,